Survivor Quarantine Questionnaire: Sekou Bunch on the Cook Islands stuff they didn't show
With Survivor filming for seasons 41 and 42 delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, EW is reaching back into the reality show's past. We sent a Survivor Quarantine Questionnaire to a batch of former players to fill out with their thoughts about their time on the show as well as updates on what they've been up to since. Each weekday, EW will post the answers from a different player.
When Sekou Bunch first got the call to be on Survivor, he was excited to play. But not to play the game. He thought he was getting a call to play something else — the bass guitar! "I thought they wanted a band and wanted a bass player when they called me to be on the show," Sekou says.
Sekou's unfamiliarity with the show ended up costing him, as he was the first person voted out of Survivor: Cook Islands after not recognizing that the three women on the tribe would use their numbers advantage to band together and eliminate him. But while Sekou was not able to see a lot of the season, there is a lot that viewers did not see about Sekou's stay on the island — like the time he spent out in the water or the time he almost built a fire.
In his Quarantine Questionnaire, the professional bassist take a trip back in time to relive the highs and lows of his Cook Islands experience, while also updating us as to what he's been up to since.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: First off, give the update as to what you've been up to since appearing on Survivor.
SEKOU BUNCH: I have released my album in 2008 titled The Next Level. Since then, I have continued to tour internationally, record on numerous recordings, and bought me a home. I also have recently performed on three major films, and TV commercials: Toyota 2020 "I Put a Spell on You" with Chaka Khan, performed electric bass on the movies Shaft and Undercover Brother 2, and the TV seris The Godfather of Harlem. I continue to produce and record, and also have two new records coming in 2021: New Jazz City and A Celebration of Michael Jackson, a recording tribute album.
What is your proudest moment ever from playing Survivor?
My proudest moment ever playing on Survivor was nearly making a fire, building a hut from scratch using tree branches and leaves with a door!
What is your biggest regret from your Survivor experience?
My biggest regret on Survivor was not being aware that in my tribe, the men were outnumbered by the women three to two. We should have created an alliance with one of the woman, especially Stephanie. She and I were the darkest, LOL (since it was a show partly based on race). Making an alliance with her would have assured either me or Nate immunity from being voted off. The women did a majority rule vote that we couldn't contend with.
What's something that will blow fans' minds that happened out there in your season but never made it to TV?
What happened was, I drew smoke from attempting to make us fire. They filmed it but did not show it. I was so exhausted from throwing up the day before from eating and the rough seas. I was a bit weak, especially after Nate and I did most of the work building that hut. Also, while sleeping at night and seeing cameramen with lights on their heads filming, all you could see were silhouettes and a beams of light. It was like being watched by some aliens on a distant planet.
How do you feel about the edit you got on the show?
Before going out there, we all agreed to giving the producers the right to edit the show in any way they want, excluding having to consult with us about the look of the show. What many did not see was me nearly drawing fire and swimming in the ocean. They chose to show me laying down, after exhaustion, of course, and further questioning Stephanie in a way unbeknownst to her, to somehow say that I wasn't doing anything and then showing me actually at rest from exhaustion. (Geesh!)
What was it like coming back to regular society after being out there? Was there culture shock or an adjustment coming back?
"Oh my God!" It was like being a famous actor on steroids. People would recognize me in public — supermarkets, and anywhere. Seeing all the magazines on the racks with my photo, my children being questioned, and many friends of mine in complete shock from the exposure I was getting. I was already popular publicly in my profession, but this was on a completely different level.
Was there ever a point either during the game or after you got back where you regretted going on the show?
At no time did I regret being in the game or after I returned home. I am use to fanfare, and was treated with the utmost of accommodations. It was a paid vacation, actually. I recommend anyone who got the chance to go and do it.
Whom do you still talk, text, or email with the most from your season?
I have been in touch with Billy. He was the second one to return after being voted off. Stephanie and I became good friends. She and I, both of the Christian faith, went to church together, and a crew of us, the others voted off, went out on the town to the movies, beach, shopping, dining, and dancing. It was like adult camp. Cecilia and I became close also. So much fun!
Do you still watch Survivor, and if so, what's your favorite season you were not on and why?
I barely get to watch television these days. I am so busy. I thought they wanted a band and wanted a bass player when they called me to be on the show. I first saw the show when it aired and I knew that television was on another tier and that Survivor would pioneer what we know today as reality TV. And yes, it was real. No food, fire, soap, or shelter. Pure wilderness.
Who's one player from another Survivor season you wish you could have played with or against and why?
Bobby Mason from Survivor: Panama. He's a smart guy and would have been fun to strategize with. We are Facebook friends.
If you could make one change to any aspect of Survivor, what would it be and why?
If I could make a change to Survivor, I would make sure they show all the highlights showing the footage of contestants that the producers edited out, and in other favorable situations, as well as the not-so-favorable.
Finally, would you play again if asked?
If asked to play again? Sure, I would.
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